Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Festive Meal Plan 19th December 2016

Firstly sorry for the lack of posts, it's all been a little crazy in the land of Mud Cakes and Wine. But we are back with a big plan for the festive period.

Last year I was not able to plan, our baby arrived over 2 weeks early and then I was rather poorly. This year it is full on planning. I hate waste and to be honest not knowing what we are going to eat stresses me out.

We are buying a gammon and rolled turkey breast as we love all the cold meats, salads and sandwiches. The boys eat gammon like sweets. I will be cooking the gammon in cola.

I was also able to do my online shop easily, I wrote three lists and got exactly what we need for each meal, hoping not to waste food. Also trying to keep it interesting for the family.

Monday 19th - Homemade Pizza - get to choose our own toppings which is always fun.

Tuesday 20th - Jacket Potatoes with beans and cheese. Simple meal as its school party and haircuts today.

Wednesday 21st - Tuna pasta bake. Comfort food is sometimes needed.

Thursday 22nd - A treat of a Charlie Bingham meal as Mr MC&W is finishing work today.

Friday 23rd - Spag Bol 

Saturday 24th -  Mr MC&W family has always had a tradition of going out for a curry on Christmas Eve. With 3 little ones we now get a ready meal, but I love this and happy to keep it going.

Sunday 25th - Roast turkey and I am not cooking.

Monday 26th - Cold meats and salad and cheese just eating all day I think

Tuesday 27th - MIL coming over so we are doing a full on roast beef

Wednesday 28th - Turkey and Ham pie with a lot of veggies

Thursday 29th - A potato bake using the gammon. I did this last year and it was amazing.
My Random Musings

Monday, 21 November 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 19th November 2016

November is hitting hard at the moment and the weather is miserable and we need comfort food.

Saturday - Mr MC&W is having a ready meal curry as I am lunch out with my Mum and little sister. Boys will have pizza.

Sunday - OB has a party in the morning and we have had a hectic weekend. Dinner for us all I have brought in Lasagna with salad and some garlic bread

Monday - Gnocchi with singe cream and Parmesan sauce with broccoli for the boys and mushrooms and broccoli for me. Taken form the Madhouse Cookbook by Jo Pratt

Tuesday - Simple tomato sauce with spaghetti topped with baby corn, ham and peas. I will be using up any extra veggies in the cupboard.

Wednesday - mini tuna fishcakes with salad

Thursday - Carrot and Lentil soup 

Friday - Boys have a disco so it's a quick meal of Jacket Potatoes with beans and cheese for us all.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 12th November 2016

Meal planning was a little better this week, maybe because the week was a little less hectic than it had been. 

All we want is warming winter meals

Saturday - Pirri Pirri chicken with red peppers, red onions served with chips and salad. Boys will have fish fingers and mash

Sunday - Toad in the Hole using sausages from the village farm shop. Served with lots of veggies and some roast potatoes.

Monday - I am trying the boys on satay chicken again but major changes. One I am not cooking the sauce it's being brought. Secondly rice not noodles. Lots of veggies. The sauce will be on the side for the boys.

Tuesday - Soup lentil, carrot slightly spiced served with rolls

Wednesday - Gnuddi with tomato sauce. I watched these being made in a programme on Good Food and they looked lovely.

Thursday - Jackets with Tina Mayo and salad

Friday - Homemade beef burger with chips and salad 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 5th November 2016

I am rather shocked that we are into November and December is slowly creeping up on me. 

The meal plan for the last couple of weeks has been a bit of a chore. For some reason I am finding it hard to decide what to eat and nothing is appealing. 

Saturday - Our family favourite Spag Bol using mince from our local farm shop

Sunday - Roast Chicken, the boys just love this meal and normally clear their whole plates.

Monday - Sausage Casserole with Jacket  Potatoes

Tuesday - Chicken Curry

Wednesday - Tuna Pasta Bake

Thursday - Fish Pie

Friday - Homemade pizza

Planting LolliPop Trees Elaeagnus ebbingei

I can not believe the day had finally arrived, the trees we had put so much thought into were going to be planted.

We had the conifer and last shrubs removed and the whole area dug over and ready for the arrival of the LolliPop Trees Elaeagnus ebbingei.

Area cleared and ready for the trees

I was on the school run when they arrived. I walked round into the back garden to see five of the most beautiful trees in huge pots ready to be planted.

Mr MC&W had chatted to the team that the trees need to be the same height despite there being a slight slope.

Elaeagnus ebbingei all ready to be planted

It was great to see the tape measure out checking the spacing between each one, as this was such a crucial part of the design.

I can not believe how fast they got the first tree in and how polite they were when we suddenly realised it was overhanging the neighbours' boundary. They brought it forward no questions.

First Elaeagnus ebbingei in but had to be moved

All five went in under 4 hours, I honestly do not think we would have one hole dug in that time.

Then they were planted and we could not keep the smiles of our faces, they look stunning. The beautiful silvery green leaves of the trees allowing for the screen we wanted up high.

The team told us that the area was very sheltered and the trees would not need staking. The next job was to water them well. The trees that had been planted where the conifer had been needed more water as the ground was so dry.

Elaeagnus ebbingei all planted and looking beautiful

Our view from upstairs

It also still gives us the ability to plant under the trees and create a beautiful border. I Love it when a plan comes together and has taught us we can have the vision and make a bold statement. 

I will now be mainly watering these for the next couple of weeks and worrying as killing these would be rather expensive. 
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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Meal Plan Friday 28th October 2016

Sorry for the week away, we had a family holiday to Center Parcs. This meant a few days of ready meals and no cooking. We got back on Friday evening and had to do a very quick plan for this week.

Friday - Fish and Chips with peas

Saturday - Fajitas 

Sunday - Roast Beef with Yorkshire Puddings, Roast Potatoes and lots of veggies

Monday - Creamy Pasta with peas and ham. The sauce is made with Mascapone so is fast and easy.

Tuesday - Aussie Style Potato Scones with beans, sausages and broccoli

Wednesday - Oven Baked Risotto 

Thursday - Chicken cooked in a tomato sauce served with rice and green beans

Friday - Mini Burgers these will be handmade by me along with salad

Friday, 21 October 2016

Dinner for Two - private Chef

Friday was Mr MC&W 40th Birthday and this brought a slight dilemma. How could I make this night special without going to a restaurant for dinner? Our eldest has type 1 and ASD which means it's nearly impossible for anyone to have him even for an hour or so.

I had an idea and for once it was one of my better ones. What about getting a private chef to cook for us in our own home. We could have an amazing meal that we do not have to cook ourselves and look after OB at the same time. Win win all round.

Luckily the MIL knew someone who was starting out doing private catering, he has even appeared on MasterChef setting the contestants a challenge.

We talked a lot on email about Mr MC&W favourite food, using this information he came up with a special menu for us both. It was perfect we could have a meal that was full of food Mr MC&W loves and there are worries about OB getting sick.

Below is our amazing meal. (sorry that the photos are not the best quality, we were really hungry)


Smoked Salmon Toasts with crème Fraiche

Mini Chorizo Croquettes

Tempura Prawns

Starter for Mr MC&W

Seared Scallops & Salt & Pepper Squid
Curried Cauliflower puree, Onion Bahjee bits

Starter for Mrs MC&W

Goats Cheese three ways
With beetroot & dressed rocket

Main Course

Fillet of Beef
Hand cut chunky chips, flat mushroom, 
roasted vine tomato & Bernaise sauce & a Peppercorn sauce 


Classic English Trifle three ways classic, cherry and orange


Selection of Fine Cheeses & Water Biscuits

I can honestly say the meal was superb. The chef brought everything he needed from a deep fat fryer to crockery ensuring the quality of presentation. The food was cooked and served straight away, I founded it fresher than a restaurant, and we could wait as long between courses as we wanted.

Mr MC&W was in shock at the surprise and could not believe I had thought of it. We had a high-end restaurant standard meal cooked in our own home and we could keep an eye on our little boy.

It was a truly wonderful and special evening, something we never thought we would be able to have again.

This was our amazing chef:

Taplins hospitality
Twin Mummy and Daddy

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A Cornish Mum

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 15th October 2016

We have a very busy but fun filled weekend. Then the last week of school before half term. That means lots of school bits to do. I need to bake a cake which is worrying for everyone.

Saturday - We are having Fahitas. The boys will eat at the brother in laws birthday party that we are all going to

Sunday - We are eating out at the Royal Ashdown Hotel for lunch celebrating Mr MC&W birthday as he is 40 along with his identical twin brother

Monday -  Spag Bol as we need to take pictures of OB cooking for school homework 

Tuesday - Chicken Curry we love a Korma

Wednesday - Gnocchi with a tomato sauce and garlic bread

Thursday - Freezer Meal we have a manic day at school so need a meal I can just pop in the oven when we get home.

Friday - it's the last day of term and again going to be busy so it will be Jacket Potatoes with beans and cheese 
Cuddle Fairy

Friday, 7 October 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 8th October 2016

We are starting our hectic October this weekend with a friends birthday and ATM birthday party with his friends. Then on Friday Mr MC&W turns 40.

Food this week is simple and quick as always

Saturday - Fish and Chips - we will not get home till later so doing an easy to cook meal.

Sunday - I brought a pulled pork burger kit from Tesco looks good and hope it tastes good. Boys will have pasta after a busy party day.

Monday - Easy Cook Samosas I found this on netmums

Easy Samosas

Tuesday - A simple fish pie that I can prepare in the morning ready to pop in the oven after school.

Wednesday - madhouse carbonara - I love this meal as do the boys. It's quick, simple and tasty

Thursday -  Chilli will serve with tortilla chips not rice as the boys love using them as cutlery. Can pop it in the slow oven to cook and not think about it.

Friday - Pizza is all I will say, as a huge surprise for Mr MC&W will be happening

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Mint is trying to take over the garden

am trying to tidy the garden up. We are a bit tight for money this month and I want to plant lots of bulbs. Instead I am tidying and keeping busy, let's be honest the garden is a weed haven and a total mess so I have a lot to do.

Clearing this border however I have made a very important discovery. That mint is trying to take over the world, one border at a time.

Two years ago I planted out a very sad and mainly dead supermarket mint plant. I did not think it was going to survive or the consequences of my naive action. It did survive and it did grow and grow. I then cleared the border down that year and the next it came back stronger.

This year it was at its finest. Now admittedly I did just let it grow. The children loved the smell as did I. They were picking it, making mud pies with it, it was a source of fun. Then the flowers came out and the bees and pollinators were in heaven the whole border was alive, I had to keep it.

I have now dug it up and it's taken half my garden waste bin and the roots are spectacular. I am digging the border over a few times to try and get out as much of the roots as possible. Though I know it will come back again.

Next year I will not let it grow at all, as I want this to be a proper herb border. I will post about that when I plant it. Look at what I found hiding beneath the mint. The poor Rosemary trying to grow big and strong under the mint.

So lesson learnt I will plant a pot of mint on the end and then it can not take over the border again. But it will be a big pot as I do love a pimms.

A Cornish Mum

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Friday, 30 September 2016

Meal Plan 1st October 2016

This week has been fun and games. Wednesday night tuna pasta bake turned into sausage and beans on toast. Though the boys were very happy with that.

We have a busy week at ATM is turning 5, we have a family meal on Sunday and then his birthday on Thursday.

Saturday - Mr MC&W and I are having curry. I will be honest it's made by the lovely people at Tesco. The boys asked me for cheese on toast. I will add some salad bits with this.

Sunday - ATM birthday meal. We will be having pizza and crisps and chips as you can tell very healthy. But that's what he really wants and I love that food. 

Monday - Oven Baked Thai Chicken I love this meal from BBC Good Food

Oven Baked Thai Chicken and Rice

Tuesday - Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Pasta a new one for us but we love pasta and cheese so thought it's worth a try.

Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Pasta

Wednesday - Jacket Potatoes with Tuna Mayo and salad

Thursday- Boys will be having a Macdonalds as its ATM birthday. We will have Gnocchi with blue cheese and veggies

Gnocchi with mushrooms and Blue cheese

Friday - Tacos as a make it yourself meal.
A Cornish Mum

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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 24th September 2016

The weeks are just flying past with the boys at school full time. Even though in theory I should have more time, the menu plan is still last second as I try to get a delivery slot on the day I need it.

Saturday - Ham, Eggs and Chips

Sunday - Fish in Sauce with rice and roasted veggies. Boys will have chicken, mash and greens

Monday - Fish Tortillas - the fish finger sandwich went down well let's see how these do

Tuesday - Special Fried Rice - with chicken and veggies the boys will eat sweetcorn, green beans, peas etc

Wednesday - Tuna Pasta Bake

Thursday - Mini Meatballs with spaghetti 

Friday - Chicken Goujons with chips and peas 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hanging Baskets - lessons to learn

Last week I published a post all about how well the hanging baskets went that I had planted. This week I want to look at what did not go so well and that I will change next time.

As your aware I am new to gardening and plants, so learning through my mistakes. The hanging baskets were overall a huge success and I am thrilled, but let's have a look at what lessons I have learnt.

The Red Basket:

This was made up of, a couple of Upright Geranium Scana Julie Purple Red then below a mix of Aztec Verbena Dark Red and Calibrachoa Calita Deep Red this was a total disaster. The poor basket just did not get enough light, the ivy made sure of that. The plants just died. I cut back the ivy but this was not enough. I need to cut the ivy right back or nothing will survive. This was a real shame as it should have looked lovely but I put the plants in the wrong position. They needed sunshine and for some reason best known only to me, i decided to ignore this. Lesson learnt read the labels and do not make my own rules.

It started so well

Trying to survive

Yellow and whites:

The flowers are Petunia Surfinia in Yellow and snow. These were beautiful but I did not get the mix of the plants right when I planted them. This meant we had a huge cascade of white flowers and the yellow got a little lost. Next time I will really look at how the plants are placed before I do the planting and think about how they will grow. 

Lots of white needed better planting to get mix of the white and yellow

The orange based hanging basket:

Lantana Camara Lucky Red Flame is the slightly taller plant, the trailing plants are Million Bells this is a Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire and the white ones are Calibrachoa Calita Double White. 

I adored this basket but the simple mistake was it needed better placement of plants and more of them. The tall Lantana Camara was beautiful but got lost a little in the display, I think two would have been better. The trailing plants needed more volume. I think maybe more of the orange trailing Million Bells this is a Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire, a couple more of these would have worked much better and would have had a bigger impact without loosing it's reserved beauty.  

Lantana Camara Lucky Red Flame looks beautiful but lost

Million Bells Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire needed more of these

This was a beautiful display and an excellent mixture of the trailing plants. My problem was not deadheading the Verbena they went over and for a week or so I had no flowers on top. This spoilt the display for a while and I made sure I kept on top of deadheading these.

Who did not deadhead in time?

So pretty when they came back
looks so sad

Purple wall basket - Osteospermum Purple 2012

This basket did not start out well, they were just lots of green leaves with a few flowers. I went through the Plants and made sure I deadheaded everyone and slowly the flower buds came through. Then they flowered not the mass flowers of the other baskets but these are a different type of plant. I had to keep on top of the deadheading and in the end, they looked lovely but I think it needs something extra compliment the beautiful purple flowers, maybe something trailing next time.

Not happy plant at first

Buds starting to form

Beautiful when they came into flower

I can not wait to try some more hanging baskets. I will be out to the garden centre early spring to start again and will keep you all informed.

A Cornish Mum

Cuddle Fairy

Friday, 16 September 2016

Menu Plan - Saturday 17th September 2016

We are all getting back into the school routine. The boys are shattered yet not sleeping at the same time and it's making for short tempers.

Menu planning is hard work as I am having to think about how long meals take to cook, can I prepare them in advance etc

Saturday - Chilli for Mr MC&W and myself the boys will have the ever popular Spag Bol

Sunday - Mr MC&W and I will have a brought in Fish Pie, it's nice to have an evening not having to cook. Boys will have roast chicken breast with roast potatoes and veggies

Monday - Three cheese Tortellini with tomato sauce. I will buy the pasta in and make the sauce

Tuesday - Chicken Curry 

Wednesday - Spaghetti with tomato sauce and ham

Thursday - Baked Potatoes with Beans and Cheese - I will start them in the microwave then pop them in the oven.

Friday - Puff Pastry tarts with salad

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Hanging Basket Review - Success

This year I planted my first ever hanging baskets. We had always brought them but I really wanted to try and plant my own. Having never planted one before it was a real exercise in seeing what would and would not work.

I am going to do two posts, one to look at how they were a success and the following to look at what I will change next time.

But let's concentrate on what went right to start with. Please note the following post contains lots of pictures of pretty flowers

Yellow and whites:

For the hanging basket, I chose Petunia Surfinia in Yellow and Snow.

These Petunia were truly majestic. They provided us with all summer with cascading flowers that were a real show piece. I loved the simple and slightly muted white and yellow. But next year I may go rather bolder and choose some really bright colours, bring on the pink and purple theme.

When they were first planted

Full Summer Flower after a month or so of growth

The yellow and the white looking beautiful together

Bacopa Guliver White and Bidens Golden Glory. I loved this wall basket, the stunning bright yellow Bidens flowers were abundant all summer long. Teamed together with the flowing white Bacopa which really complimented the yellow Bidens and added beauty as they trailed down the front of the basket.

When first planted not many flowers to see

Then the blooms came and came and came

Shows the yellow and the white looking stunning together
The orange based hanging basket:

Lantana Camara Lucky Red Flame is the slightly taller plant, the trailing plants are Million Bells this is a Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire and the white ones are Calibrachoa Calita Double White

I adored the Orange, this was a smaller basket not the great swathes of flowers produced by the large petunia or the yellow Bidens. But I loved the bright orange and yet it was somehow restrained and beautiful. 

Looked so empty when first planted

I love the orange and the white together with the mix of flowers

The pinks and purples hanging basket

Two taller Aztec Verbena in Violet, the trailing are Bacopa Topia Blutopia these are the small little soft purple flowers and Calibrachoa Calita Rose the darker pinky trailing flowers

I love the pink and purple combination and it worked really well. They provided a bright and really pretty display all summer. The Verbena stood tall and proud adding the real height to the display. I loved the two cascading flowers mixed together, the small delicate Bacopa Topia Blutopia the smaller flowers combined with the Calibrachoa Calita Rose.

Giving a hint of how lovely the pinks and purples would look

In full bloom they look so pretty together

Purple wall basket

The purple wall basket is made of one plant only Osteospermum Purple 2012 the label said they can deal with shade and they proved that they could. This basket has always caused me problems with its position, its pretty shady so it was great to find a beautiful flower that could tolerate it.

They started very slowly and I thought would never flower. However with some patience, careful deadheading and watering they finally grew into this. They are stunning tall flowers which have done really well in this tricky area.

Did not look happy when first planted

Careful deadheading and watering they came back

Then they came into flower and those flowers were stunning

What simple steps did I follow to make sure they worked

Careful watering, I used a watering can once a day to give a good soak right into the basket, this seemed to do the trick. I tried with the hose but it seemed to damage the flowers and not get the water where is was needed.

Deadheading, this was crucial. The Verbena and Osteospermum I cut to the next leaf growth and they flowered again. All the rest I simply pulled of the deadheads and they re-flowered all the summer. I made sure I did this once a day only for five mins or so and it made a huge difference.

It may seem simple steps but it worked. I am sure the wonderful sunshine we had helped as when it rained they looked very sorry for themselves.

What also was a delight to see was they were alive with insects, an aim of the garden has always been to attract wildlife. To hear the hanging baskets hum with insects was just wonderful and to me made them a even bigger success. 

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